In recent years, Canada has become fertile ground for innovations and advancements in the image-guided technologies sector, especially in FemTech. Despite projections estimating that the global FemTech Market is estimated to grow $1.186 trillion USD by 2027, the industry remains largely undervalued and underestimated. However, recent investments from the Canadian Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to INOVAIT are helping to advance the Femtech market to support women’s health.
INOVAIT, led by Sunnybrook Research Institute and supported by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), is a network for image-guided therapy (IGT) focused on transforming healthcare by integrating artificial intelligence and data advances into IGT. INOVAIT provides network members with opportunities to connect and learn with other peers in the sector, ultimately bridging the gap for knowledge, collaboration, and partnership. Earlier this year, INOVAIT announced up to $22.7 million CAD in contributions for their Focus Fund recipients. Two Focus Fund recipients, Cosm and Arrayus, were each awarded up to $1.9 million CAD to advance their inventions in treating pelvic health disorders and uterine fibroids, respectively. These are common and often painful conditions amongst women that are in need for more effective and reliable treatments.
Cosm Medical is developing digital gynecology to personalize pessaries and beyond. Approximately 25% of women currently live with a pelvic floor disorder such as pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, and a common treatment prescribed to these women is using a pessary. However, up to 30% of patients are not successfully fitted with traditional pessaries, leaving many women without options. Gynethotics™ pessaries are the world’s first patient-matched gynecological prosthetics for female pelvic floor disorders. Using standardized pelvic measurements and ultrasound imaging technology, they are developing technology to ‘mold and scan’ the female pelvic floor to design a personalized vaginal device that serves the patient’s needs. Through the INOVAIT Focus Fund, Cosm plans to develop and integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities into their digital gynecology platform to automatize ultrasound image analysis and provide suggested designs of Gynethotics™ to increase the accuracy of pessary fittings and improve patient outcomes. The development of market-ready AI-enabled prediction models will allow Cosm to modernize gynecological devices starting with pessaries and beyond for applications from obstetrics to elderly care.
Arrayus Technologies is developing a focused ultrasound therapy platform for oncology. For their initial clinical application, the company chose the treatment of uterine fibroids, one of the most common benign tumors diagnosed among women. By the time women reach the age of 50, approximately 70% will have had at least one fibroid. Despite the high prevalence of fibroids, current treatment options are limited and can lead to scarring, long recovery times and loss of fertility for patients. Arrayus’ treatment of uterine fibroids uses the energy of targeted ultrasound waves to destroy fibroid tissue deep in the body without making any incisions. The company believes that this non-invasive approach will provide patients with significant clinical benefits including faster and safer fertility-sparing treatments. Through the INOVAIT Focus Fund, Arrayus plans to develop and integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities into its therapy platform to offer personalized, faster, and safer treatments and expand patient eligibility.
INCORPORATING AI INTO FEMTECH
Using AI and machine learning in healthcare is becoming increasingly common, with many companies recognizing its potential to transform the industry. Cosm and Arrayus are at the forefront of this technological revolution by developing AI-enhanced image-guided treatments. Their innovations promise to change how women’s health issues are addressed and their outcomes for patients, providers, and society as a whole.
By supporting companies like Cosm and Arrayus, INOVAIT is helping to bring advanced and personalized health technologies to women. Through the INOVAIT Network and SIF, the investments in Canadian image-guided innovations promise to grow the sector and expand the diagnostic and treatment options available to physicians and their patients.